SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The South Korea government will shut down the K-League if multiple teams are involved in any more match-fixing scandals.
Vice Sports Minister Park Sun-kyoo issued the warning in a meeting with football league officials on Thursday, his ministry said in a statement on Friday.
Park and senior football officials agreed to close down the 28-year-old league if several teams are linked with any new match-fixing scandals from Friday, the ministry said.
Park also threatened to expel a club from the K-League if its players are found to have received kickbacks in return for attempting to rig results.
Last month, South Korean prosecutors indicted 10 K-League players in the scandal. A former K-League midfielder, who allegedly worked as a broker, was found dead in an apparent suicide in late May.
Also on Friday, the Korea Football Association said in a statement that it has decided to permanently ban the 10 indicted players from all types of football-related posts, including coaching and refereeing, in South Korea.
The K-League authorities already imposed a lifetime ban on the players, eight from Daejeon Citizen, this month.
The highest-profile player implicated in the scandal is Suwon Samsung Bluewings' Choi Sung-kuk, a striker who has played in 26 internationals. This week, he acknowledged attending a meeting between players and gambling brokers last year, though he said he didn't take part in a plot to rig the outcome of two games.
Military prosecutors have also arrested Kim Dong-hyun of military club Sangju Sangmu, who had six appearances for the national team, over the scandal.